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NHK


NHK is Japan's national broadcasting organization. NHK, which has always been known by this romanized acronym in Japanese, is a publicly owned corporation funded by viewers' payments of a television license fee.

NHK is funded by reception fees, a system analogous to the license fee used in some English-speaking countries. The Broadcast Law which governs NHK's funding stipulates any broadcasting equipment able to receive NHK (i.e. all mass media broadcasting collectors) is required to pay. The fee is standardized, with discounts for office workers and students who commute, as well a general discount for residents of Okinawa prefecture. For viewers making annual payments by credit card with no other special discounts, the reception fee is 13,600 yen per year for terrestrial reception only, and 24,090 yen per year for both terrestrial and broadcast satellite reception.

NHK offers local, national, and world news reports. NHK News 7 airs daily and is broadcast bilingually with both Japanese and English audio tracks on NHK General TV and NHK's international channels TV Japan and NHK World Premium. The flagship news program News Watch 9 is also bilingual and also airs on NHK General TV and the international channels and NHK World Premium. World News is aired on NHK BS 1 with Catch! Sekai no Top News in the morning and International News Report at night, with the latter also airing on NHK World Premium. News on NHK BS 1 is aired at 50 minutes past the hour except during live sport events.

Under the Broadcast Act, NHK is under the obligation to broadcast early warning emergency reporting in times of natural disasters such as earthquakes and tsunamis. Their national network of seismometers in cooperation with the Japan Meteorological Agency makes NHK capable of delivering earthquake early warnings seconds after detection, as well as a more detailed report in just 23 minutes after the quake. They also broadcast air attack warnings in the event of war, using the J-Alert system. All warnings are broadcast in five languages: English, Mandarin, Korean and Portuguese (Japan has small Chinese, Korean and Brazilian populations), as well as Japanese. The warnings were broadcast in these languages during the 11 March 2011 earthquake and tsunami.

NHK began shortwave broadcasting on an experimental basis in the 1930s, and began regular English- and Japanese-language shortwave broadcasts in 1935 under the name Radio Japan, initially aimed at ethnic Japanese listeners in Hawaii and the west coast of North America. By the late 1930s NHK's overseas broadcasts were known as Radio Tokyo, which became an official name in 1941.

NHK began digital television broadcasting in December 2000 through BS Digital, followed by terrestrial digital TV broadcasts in three major metropolitan areas in 2003. Its digital television coverage gradually expanded to cover almost all of Japan by 24 July 2011, when analog transmissions were discontinued (except in three prefectures that were heavily affected by the 2011 Tohoku earthquake and tsunami, where it was discontinued on 31 March 2012).

On 17 October 2014, The Times claimed to have received internal NHK documents which banned any reference to the Rape of Nanking, to Japan's use of wartime sex slaves during World War II, and to its territorial dispute with China in its English-language broadcasting.